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I was tired of looking way older than I was. People always told me I looked tired. It was the hereditary eye bags and droopy lids. I looked like I was squinting almost all of the time.
This article is going to look into the process of why one should have one, recovery, cost to who is suitable for this kind of procedure. It contains affiliate links which benefit me. I am not a doctor and can’t imply what your results will be. This is not medical advice.
- What is Blepharoplasty?
- Why It’s Done?
- How it’s done?
- My Experience
- Should someone do Both Upper and Lower Lids at the Same Time?
- What should One Consider Weeks Prior to Surgery?
- What is the Recovery Process?
- What is the Cost?
- Who is a Candidate and who is not?
- How to choose a doctor for blepharoplasty?
- Can Health Insurance cover it?
- What Are The Possible Complications?
- What Are The Long Term Results?
What is Blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty, which is also known as the eyelid or eye lift is a type of surgery that is done to remove excess skin, fat, and muscle from the eyelids and reduce bagginess around the eyes.
The main purpose that many tend to do this surgery is for cosmetics purposes, others which are a few numbers compared to cosmetic reasons to it to improve sight on older people where the sagging of the upper skin affecting their vision.
In my case, it was for the excess skin.
As we age, our skin tends to stretch as the muscle supporting them weakens. From this effect, excess fat and skin gather around the eyelids causing bags under your eyes, sagging eyebrows and having droopy upper lids.
Apart from just having sagging eyebrows and affecting your vision also known as peripheral vision, they make one look older.
No one wants to look older never the less get older, but a high percentage of this group falls under the maturing woman between the age of 35 to 55 if not all women in general.
The cosmetic industry is believed to be a woman’s world, even though men are getting into the field but can’t be compared to the number of women already in the industry.
When we talk about cosmetics, one thing that comes to mind is beautiful, and we all can agree that when we think of beauty, we think of the female figure.
Why It’s Done?
This procedure involves removing of excess skin or fat that might be affecting the normal functioning of the eyelids both upper and lower, and at the same time you look more alert, attractive and younger.
You can combine this procedure with another such as facelift or brow lift. Doctors may recommend the surgery to treat or get rid of some conditions;
- You have excess skin on the lower eyelids
- Having discomforts on the forehead by overuse of eyelid muscle and strain
- Excess skin or fat on your upper eyelids that may interfere with your vision
- Irritation caused by rubbing of excess folds on the eyelids
- Bags under your eyes
- Droopy or baggy upper eyelids
- Droopy eyelids that make the white part of the eye visible
A number of people go for this kind of procedure for cosmetics purposes only. Others may consider if their sagging eyelids due to puffy eyes are caused by an eye allergy, it can be done to reduce the frequent sagging.
How it’s done?
Blepharoplasty surgery is done with surgical incisions that are made along the eyelids creases; the whole procedure takes between one to three hours depending on various conditions, instructions, and complications that may occur. An incision is inserted into to skin to remove the tissues, in order to retain the inner tissue a surgeon uses a suture to keep the surface the eyelid over the eyeball. The excess fat is then removed by use of surgical scissors; some surgeons use lasers to enhance the outcome and smoothening wrinkles in the eyebrow and eyelid area. Blepharoplasty procedure outcome depends on various factors that include;
- Age of the patient
- Skin condition
- Tissue condition that surrounds the eyes
- Tear and wear of the eyelid
I began focusing on the ever annoying, suffering causing eye bags that had haunted me since my early adult years.
With every pound I gained, the eye bags got worse.
Nothing seemed to reduce the puffiness. I had invested in every cream I could find.
I began my research on blepharoplasty and that led me to Dr. Silver in Las Vegas. Scared as I was, I decided to have the surgery. What I had never noticed was that the upper lid was as bad as the lower lid. I didn’t even know that was a “thing”.
I just thought I had squinty eyes.
What was happening is that the upper lid was so heavy, it was shutting my eyes. Once Dr. Silver showed me how it could look after, I went for both upper and lower blepharoplasty. One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
What I didn’t realize is that this surgery was setting me up for success for the Ketogenic Diet that I eventually adopted.
2 weeks prior to surgery, the doctor prepped me. The rules were: no aspirin, no alcohol, no eating anything from a box or can and plan and doing the same for several weeks after surgery.
He explained that those items would all increase swelling.
I listened and followed his advice.
On November 1st, 2017, I had my eyes done. And was eating nothing out of a box or a can. The doctor said he had never seen “fat pads in the eyes” as large as mine.
He also was amazed by my healing. (I credit the Keto Diet for that!)
The stitches came out in a few days. I couldn’t wear makeup though while the incisions were healing so I stayed home for a couple of weeks.
I had to sleep elevated for a few weeks. I bought a bed wedge and pillow set and it was fabulous.
The first few days were the hardest. My vision was poor and my eyes were sensitive to light. I downloaded podcasts and listened to those when I wasn’t sleeping.
I was working on my computer by day 4 in short bursts and by the end of the week was back in full swing. I kept ice packs on pretty much the entire time the first few days and then on and off the rest of the week.
It’s important to note that the full results were not evident til the end of month 3. Each month got better. The eyes really do swell and depending on your diet and activity will be worse at times.
I ate a sausage pizza once and one eye swelled right back up like it was before surgery. I took 3 days to go back down.
Should someone do Both Upper and Lower Lids at the Same Time?
When a patient passes the required tests to be considered that he/she can take the procedure, it is frequently recommended that the patient takes the surgery for both lids at the same time as it will save on the time on healing compared to taking on different occasions.
It is recommended as the healing process will take place simultaneously.
Also, it reduces on the cost as the medicine that is used is normally cost shared among the two eyes on the use of the OR and anesthesia.
Since the healing process will be simultaneous, it will provide a better and balanced look on your eyes both on the upper and the lower lids.
But the bottom line if one should have the two procedures at the same time or on different occasions is a personal preference, and the patient should feel free to either choose any of the options.
It’s also best to listen to the doctor!
What should One Consider Weeks Prior to Surgery?
Blepharoplasty is not a one day or week event. It needs planning over a period of time in order to prepare the patient both psychologically and physically.
One needs to be at his/her best health when going to the surgery room, some of the things that one should consider are like one should cut down on drinking alcohol, eliminate if you can’t stop smoking, if you are taking vitamin E supplements you should stop weeks before and mostly avoid ginseng or Ginko Biloba as they seen to prolong bleeding in case of a surgery.
Other medications that should be avoided are ibuprofen and aspirin as they also increase bleeding. During this period, before you take any kind of medication you should consult with your surgeon if it is okay or get an alternative, continue taking medications if need be as, long as it has been approved by your surgeon.
What is the Recovery Process?
As with surgeries, recovery process depends on patient to patient. After you have taken the surgery, you are asked to wait in the recovery room for a few hours where you are monitored for any possible complications then released later in the day to go and recover at home.
One may temporarily experience
- Pain and discomfort
- Double vision
- Numb, puffy eyelids
- Watering eyes
- Bruising and swelling that is similar to a black eye
- Light sensitivity
One thing the patient’s worry about is being seen during the healing process. On the first few days, swelling is expected; discoloration of the eyelids and the area will look bruised.
Due to the removal of some tissues in the eyelids, the area has thinned, and it’s normally filled with drops of blood that is why a doctor will ask a patient if they are taking any kind of medication on blood thinners to stop.
After a blepharoplasty surgery, other expected effects include feeling itchiness and numbness around the area. The whole procedure will take about one to two weeks, but the visible results start showing up after the fifth week.
I personally hid away for 1 week and didn’t wear makeup for several as I wanted the best results possible.
Your nurse or doctor will suggest you take the following steps after the surgery that will control the pain while recuperating at home;
- Avoid smoking
- Not to rub your eyes
- Cleans your eyes on a daily basis with and use prescribed ointments or eye drops
- On the day after surgery, to apply ice packs for ten minutes every hour. The following day to use ice ten minutes after five hours.
- To avoid workouts such as aerobics and jogging and any other strenuous activity
- If you normally use contact lenses, not to use them for a week
- Avoid swimming for a week
- Sleep while your head is above your chest for a few days
- For about a week try to avoid aspirin, naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, Naprosyn and any other medication or herb that increases blood flow or bleeding. When controlling pain try using acetaminophen
- Wear dark or tinted sunglasses that will protect your eyes from direct sunlight or wind
- Apply a soft compress to reduce swelling
- In a few days, you should go back for check up and remove stitches if needed
When a patient has been released to go and recover, he/she should take some personal care where if they notice some uncommon or severe symptoms to always keen to check it out and consult with your doctor. If you do get the following experiences, seek medical attention immediately;
- Vision problems
- Bleeding anywhere
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Severe new pain in the eye
After the surgery, many have been satisfied with the results they get after the blepharoplasty. The swelling and feeling numbness may diminish after 10 to 15 days.
After that you are able and a little comfort to go out into the public and maybe resume some of your normal routines.
The cuts from the surgery may take months before they fade, within the few months always take care of your eye as they are very sensitive to the outside environment such direct sunlight.
For me, you couldn’t tell I had cuts after the initial healing process.
For some, the procedure becomes a life-changing event as they do not need to redo it again, but for others, the droopy eyes occur after several years.
What is the Cost?
The average blepharoplasty cost is about $3026 per lid; this figure may vary from various hospitals across the world.
Mine was about that. In some cases, insurance will cover the upper lid if it impeeds vision.
The above figure was according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a statistics they did in the year 2017. The above cost was just an average but did not include some charges where other hospitals charge such as operating room facilities, anesthesia and other expenses that may relate.
A surgeon may charge different fees according to his/her experience, type of procedure to use or place where the office is located.
Plastic surgeons deal with expensive procedures, and they always offer financing plans to their patients in a way that they will be able to cover for their blepharoplasty expenses.
As a patient, if you are not in a position to afford these services always talks to your surgeon for the best way to pay for the cost.
The cost may include the following;
- Medical test
- Anesthesia fees
- Surgeon’s fee
- Prescriptions for medication
- Surgical or hospital facility cost
Who is a Candidate and who is not?
Your doctor or surgeon will be able to tell you if you are the right candidate for blepharoplasty, this because the eyelid surgery does not exist in a vacuum but it is connected to other parts of the body that needs consideration and tests before a decision is made.
Your surgeon should be able to tell you about the pros and cons of undertaking the procedure, below are some of the reasons why it might be right for you or not;
Are you in good health?
The best candidate for any type of surgery is the one having good health, nonsmoker, the right attitude and their expectations on the procedure are realistic.
Not everyone is eligible to be a candidate in taking blepharoplasty surgery; one must understand that the procedure is performed specifically to get rid of excess fat, enhance vision and to correct puffy eyelids.
If you are looking for more extensive kind of procedure like facial rejuvenation, you may want to consider something different like the facelift. There are also some other medical conditions that can exclude from undertaking the procedure or having a presence of certain ophthalmic.
Are you the right age?
Most of the age bracket taking this type of surgery is between 35 to 60 years, but also in some instances, one may develop droopy eyelids or baggy eyelids at a younger age, or it runs in the family they can decide to take it earlier.
Before you take up the procedure, discuss it with your surgeon as you may not get the exact look that you may want, and it may alter your facial structure. This kind of procedure is for people who want to look younger or to reduce droopy eyelids.
You might not be a good candidate if you have a medical condition that will automatically exclude you from the procedure.
When going for your first appointment, do not forget to inform your surgeon of any medical conditions that you might be having, this is because it might mean that you may not be eligible to take the procedure or take an alternative type of procedure which is non-surgical.
A patient suffering from conditions such as diabetes or glaucoma always take an alternative solution on blepharoplasty.
How to choose a doctor for blepharoplasty?
Create a list of potential doctors
In order to get a good doctor, there are things that you need to do before you can pick a good one. Always go for the best, this can be achieved by having a list of surgeons, referrals and most importantly they must be certified in ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery board.
You can check their rating by customer satisfaction on Healthgrades.com, from this website you can be able to see the doctor’s medical practice.
Mine was actually suggested by my optometrist.
Check on their credentials and experience
When you are remaining with a few names in your list, now check their experiences and credentials that they hold. Confirm that the doctor you choose has no good record with the federal government and has no cases of malpractice.
Also, check if they perform that specific surgery regularly, this is because the more a doctor performs successful surgery the more they are prepared in case of complications and how best to avoid them.
For this reason always be certain that the surgeon that you choose has extensive experience in the eyelid surgery, in any case, an ophthalmologist who has experience in blepharoplasty is the best option.
Examine the hospital
A hospital is not made up of one doctor but a team of doctors, and since surgical procedures require experienced individual, for this reason, you need to check the hospital quality or the department where the doctors’ practice.
Look into where they do perform these surgeries, is it at their own private facilities or at their place of work. Ideally look at the hospital’s record in that type of procedure and if it has a 5-star rating, if the reputation is good and your selected doctor works there, feel comfortable with the place.
Have a chat with the surgeon
When you are now narrowing your list to about four depending on your list, now book appointments with each of the surgeons differently so as you have time to think and note down.
Feel free talking to them and see how they treat you, ask questions like; do how many surgeries have they performed? Do you have photos to show? How often do you encounter complication and how severe? How do you avoid this complication?
When you get answers to all your questions and respect your opinion, you can now narrow down to the best one that you had a conversation with, and you felt comfortable with.
For me, I felt safe with this doctor. He seemed honest and made me feel comfortable the entire time.
Book for the day best suitable to undertake the surgery, this is mostly on the doctor’s schedule, the patient’s health and availability.
Can Health Insurance cover it?
Insurance cover is always a factor when it comes to healthcare services, but insurance cover does not cover for cosmetics surgeries. But you need to check with your insurance company if they offer insurance for eyelid surgeries as this is mostly covered as it’s deemed to be a medical necessity.
Remember that the cost does not outweigh your satisfaction as a patient, do not go for the least expensive doctor just to save on the cost, the two should go hand in hand. This is your FACE we are talking about!
What Are The Possible Complications?
All types of surgeries have complications, so as eyelid surgery. It also comes with some severe risks and potential complications. Some severe include hematoma, retinal detachment, and ectropian.
Other additional complications include scaring, excessive tearing, having an infection, burning of the eyes, double vision, some adverse reactions to anesthesia and in some instances formation whiteheads.
The chances of a complication arising are typically influenced ether b the patient’s response to the surgery as well as the surgeon’s skills and procedures taken.
Many of the complications can be avoided if the patients follow the surgeon’s instructions to the letter when the surgeon is skilled in the surgery and the patient follows the instructions as directed by the surgeon, the chances of a complication is drastically reduced.
What Are The Long Term Results?
Results from the blepharoplasty last for years while in others it becomes a life-changing experience as it remains permanent. One also should keep in mind even though the fat and other tissues were taken from the eyelid, the human body is also aging, and there are also chances of the wrinkling may return.
One can have a brow lift performed as this will reduce the likeliness of this occurring. As for the majority of the patients who have undergone the procedure, they are happy with the results they got from the blepharoplasty.
People get to see what big difference this small changes to the face can lead to one having confidence on their look, some after seeing the results they get impressed to the point that they take another procedure like facelift and the brow lift.